Lost!

Gardening/Walking/Nature trails & wildlife. Share your experiences here...

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carol sheridan
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Lost!

Post by carol sheridan » Wed 24 Oct 2012 07:23

I recently got lost in a forest on a very steep, rock covered hillside near Clara. I walked for hours and it began to get dark. My only light was from my mobile phone. I found a stream and followed it downhill,but there were a lot of very sharp drops and I resorted to sliding down on my bottom. I contemplated ringing 112 - but I had no idea where I was other than that I had left my car at the car park and started to follow a track marked 'Chapelle'. I did finally find a dirt road that led me to Clara , exhausted after eight hours walking, covered in bruises and scratches from many falls because of the thick brambles and trailing,thorny, creepers. If had telephoned 112, would they have been able to locate me if I kept my phone turned on? I knocked on the door of the first house with a light on, and the lovely French lady there ran me the four kms back to my car. People can be very kind. I am now back home and my thighs and arm muscles are very painful. Of course, once the track stopped being clear I should have turned back!

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Post by polremy » Wed 24 Oct 2012 12:32

Wow! what an adventure, Carol.
On the positive side, you can dine out on that from now till Christmas.
Glad there was a happy ending.

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Post by carol sheridan » Wed 24 Oct 2012 12:34

I daren't mention it to my daughter - she is always telling me off for taking chances!

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Post by Kate » Wed 24 Oct 2012 13:46

She should be proud of you - that you are so independant and enterprising. Amazing lady. I'd have been on the phone to anybody who would listen the moment I thought I was lost! :oops:

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Post by Sue » Wed 24 Oct 2012 14:38

Me too Kate, but then I wouldnt have been up there in the first place, far too unfit and lazy!!
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Post by carol sheridan » Wed 24 Oct 2012 17:21

I was only visiting PO and I had not got my diary with me, so I didn't know the number of the lovely lady whose apartment I was using! Not much use ringing my daughter in New Zealand, or my sister in England! I also carry a whistle, and I blew the SOS as loud as I could, but nobody responded.
I knew I had to rely entirely on myself - nobody would notice my car parked in the dark, and even if they had, they would not know where I was. Apart from getting crippling cramp in my thighs and feet that night, I have found I have lots of insect bites too! It was a good job I didn't get the cramp whilst I was still on the mountain. I get annoyed when I hear of other people climbing mountains without proper equipment and clothing, but on the map it shows a simple, circular walk! I did have good walking boots and my two poles, although they were a bit of a handicap when I had to drag myself up a slope by digging my fingers in the earth or pulling myself up by clumps of grass. At least I had plenty of water once I found the stream.

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Post by carol sheridan » Wed 24 Oct 2012 17:49

I have been trying to work out exactly where I was. I drove up through Villarach to Clara and took a long, dirt road to Col. de Forn where I parked. If you look at the map of Massif de Canagou (which I had with me) you will see there is a wiggly, circular route leading from the parking. I headed West towards Clara (it said 3 kms.) but I turned left when I say a sign that said 'Chapelle' - presumably the St. Etienne chapel. The path was well marked until I came to a bridge over a stream, with a locked iron gate. I should then have retraced my steps, but I was sure I could find a route if I went up to the ridge. It proved to be a lot steeper and higher than I had thought. I did eventually come out on the outskirts of Clara. There were quite a few ravines as well as very steep, bare rocks so I could have had a very nasty fall. I think I have learnt my lesson - I will continue to walk in the Alps but I will not go 'off piste' on my own. Honest!

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Post by Owens88 » Thu 25 Oct 2012 01:05

Nice to meet you the other night. We were far less adventurous and did the Tour de Goa the following day.

Does your phone not have a GPS? I know they are not very accurate but it might have helped?


In anycase you should take a phone number with you. :!:


We were luckier on our little ramble. A dog adopted us and led us to the top then down again. I even phoned the mumber on its collar to alert the owner in case it was lost (answer phone).
John
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Vernet Les Bains and East Midlands

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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 25 Oct 2012 09:15

I enjoyed meeting both of you, too, John. My phone is about ten years old and doesn't have any bells and whistles! Other than the European emergency number, I don't know anybody I could have telephoned.
I don't often get scared, but I admit to getting a bit uneasy when it got dark!
I have now more or less recovered from the climb and the nearly 700 km drive the following day! I am a tough old bird.

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Post by Kate » Thu 25 Oct 2012 09:32

Ha ha. Good for you, you tough old bird. Long may you continue! :lol:

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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 25 Oct 2012 10:07

Thank you, Kate. Do you know the area where I got lost, I wonder? I have not told my daughter the whole truth, as she gets very annoyed with me for wandering alone in isolated places - but what is the point in living in mountains if you don't explore them?

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Post by Sue » Thu 25 Oct 2012 11:10

Gosh Carol I wish I had half the oomph and guts that you have. Long may you continue but stay safe and update that phone!!
Last edited by Sue on Thu 25 Oct 2012 15:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 25 Oct 2012 15:28

I am going to treat myself to an iphone for Christmas!

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Post by Robert Ferrieux » Thu 25 Oct 2012 15:34

This is exactly what happened to two friends of mine, Andrée (the intrepid one) & Françoise (with a dicey hip). Both in their mid-seventies, they left their rambling party in the village to wander off to see a chapel & maybe discover a bit of the wild beyond. After following a path through the vines for half an hour or so they decided to retrace their steps as dusk was beginning to fall. Unfortunately the adventurous Andrée deduced a left turn would be right (she's always right!) and Françoise gamely hobbled after her. The path became stonier, the sky darker and the air damper. After some time (their exploit , like Carol's, lasted 8 hours altogether) they passed a old house, shrouded in darkness; Françoise suggested knocking at the door, but her pal derided this idea, saying it would make them look foolish for getting lost (look?) As 2 a.m. loomed and owls hooted (no, I made that up) and Françoise began seriously complaing about her hip, they turned back to the house intending to break a window and take shelter indoors. Lo and behold - there was a light inside and a kind gentleman, still awake, opened the threshold to the weary women. Andrée just asked for a glass of water & Françoise, too shattered, asked to sit down. Eventually the gallant fellow drove them the four kilometers back to the village - which they'd been circling in the dark - where a welcome party of co-ramblers, mayor and citizens, police and fire brigade heartily cheered their shame-faced arrival.

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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 25 Oct 2012 16:59

I am glad I am not the only daft old so and so! I set out at noon and got home to Ria at 9.30 p.m, It was cloudy, so no moonlight. As long as I had to carry on I was quite calm, but once I got home I began to tremble when I thought of all the hidden steep drops and slippy rocks. I had to come home the next day (an eight hour drive) - otherwise I would have gone back to try to see where I had gone wrong.
Fortunately, I regularly scramble up very steep, rocky paths here in the Alps, often for over four hours, but never in the dark! I used to have some arthritis in my knees and hips, but two years of tough walks seem to have 'cured' it. I did get the most awful cramp in my thigh muscles and my feet that night (both at the same time) but I have managed an hour's walk today with no problems. The scratches and bruises are beginning to fade and the insect bites have responded to antihistamine cream.
One of the bad things was that my fingernails were encrusted with dirt, as I had to dig them into the soil to stop myself sliding back - and I am a bit OCD about dirt!
It is odd to think that when I was in my 50s I drove from my flat in Chelsea to my office on Kensington High Street - about three miles.

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Post by Nigel and Karen » Thu 25 Oct 2012 19:43

I was taking part in the Karrymore Race in Scotland a few years ago, you are in teams of 2 and both myself and my partner were experanced fell runners.
We were running down a hill aiming for a gate about 200 mtrs away as we ran the mist came down and we became lost we never found the gate and it took ages to find the fence, its easy to get lost so I always go out with a GPS now.

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Post by Owens88 » Thu 25 Oct 2012 22:51

Carol, we both enjoyed meeting you t'other night. Barbara isfull of plans for walking poles now.

No need for an Iphone, but anything with GPS would help.


ALSO

Always take a phone number with you.
Leave an itinerary, perhaps in your car?



Be safe.
John
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Vernet Les Bains and East Midlands

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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 25 Oct 2012 23:24

I usually don't know exactly where I am heading, as I explore new areas all the time. Also, I leave my car up lonely mountain tracks and it is unlikely that anyone would pass by. There is nobody around with whom I could leave an itinerary - most of the flats in my block are just holiday lettings. I often get lost,going up a mountain by one track and coming down by another, sometimes several kms away from my car, but until this week it has always just involved a long walk. On three occasions, I have flagged down a car once I reached a road and the drivers have all been very kind and driven me to my car. I will make sure my new phone has a GPS function, but I am determined not to take any more chances!
It was these little 'adventures' that made my daughter determined to have me under her watchful eye in New Zealand!

I am glad Barbara is going to get walking poles - they make a huge difference on steep walks. Mine have saved me from serious injury many times when I have started to slide on loose scree or mud, just by jamming them into the earth.

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Post by Allan » Fri 26 Oct 2012 00:02

carol sheridan wrote:I usually don't know exactly where I am heading, as I explore new areas all the time. Also, I leave my car up lonely mountain tracks and it is unlikely that anyone would pass by. There is nobody around with whom I could leave an itinerary - most of the flats in my block are just holiday lettings. I often get lost,going up a mountain by one track and coming down by another, sometimes several kms away from my car, but until this week it has always just involved a long walk. On three occasions, I have flagged down a car once I reached a road and the drivers have all been very kind and driven me to my car. I will make sure my new phone has a GPS function, but I am determined not to take any more chances!
It was these little 'adventures' that made my daughter determined to have me under her watchful eye in New Zealand!

I am glad Barbara is going to get walking poles - they make a huge difference on steep walks. Mine have saved me from serious injury many times when I have started to slide on loose scree or mud, just by jamming them into the earth.
You may be a brave and independent lady but this all sounds totally irresponsible and goes against all the principles of safe hill walking.
People who put themselves in danger also risk those who will perhaps have to come and rescue them.

Never mind a phone with a GPS buy a proper hiking GPS, designed for off-road use that will allow you to backtrack and at least end up where you started.

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Post by carol sheridan » Fri 26 Oct 2012 07:27

Thank you Allan, I am duly censored, but you could not be more critical of me than I am of myself. :(

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Post by Nigel and Karen » Fri 26 Oct 2012 11:04

A good GPS adds fun to your day as you can see how far you have gone, put your tracks on your pc as well as being a saftey item.

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Post by carol sheridan » Fri 26 Oct 2012 14:01

I get most of my walking gear from Decathlon - I wonder if they are the best place to get a GPS compass? I will look on line.

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Post by carol sheridan » Fri 26 Oct 2012 14:44

Now I am seriously confused! I have looked at lots of sites and there is a bewildering range of things called GPS compass/tracker/watch etc. with a big difference in prices. It would be interesting to have something that told me how far I had walked and also would give me my position. Can anyone recommend something for around €100?

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Post by Nigel and Karen » Fri 26 Oct 2012 18:57

I had one of these as my first one, basic but simple to use.

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/etrex-10-gps-id_8202761.html

have you heard about geocaching that can make a walk great fun, (still trying to find the one at the windmill at collioure :evil:

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Post by carol sheridan » Sat 27 Oct 2012 07:45

That looks interesting and about the right price, Nigel. There is a Decathlon at Annemasse, about 8 kms away. I will go and have a look today. I am not sure how it would have worked in my little predicament last week. Would I have taken the bearings at the car park and then have been directed back to it?
No, I have not heard of geocoaching. I love map reading and at home I have walking maps of the local areas.

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Post by Nigel and Karen » Sat 27 Oct 2012 11:07

Google it!!

You turn it on at your car, go walking and if lost one of the options is take me home.

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Post by carol sheridan » Sat 27 Oct 2012 16:56

I like the sound of that! Many thanks. :D

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Post by Jonzjob » Wed 05 Jun 2013 11:54

OK Carol, you got yer GPS now lass??

I have the Etrex30 and it's a great bit of kit. I have local IGN maps on it and it's a real boon. It also has a magnetic compass on it so you can take bearings standing still.
John.
Now that I know what it's all for, it's either worn out or fallen off!
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Post by carol sheridan » Thu 06 Jun 2013 07:43

No, I got distracted by spending six weeks in New Zealand and I have been sticking to the local mountains, which I know well.
My daughter insists that I will need one in NZ, and she and her husband have their own. I am spending another seven weeks there this Winter (their summer, I'm not daft!) and they will help me choose one. They say it will be my Christmas present.
I am off to Nuweiba next week for a fortnight's snorkeling in the Red Sea, then in July I am taking my sister on a cruise on the River Moselle - two holidays where I won't be able to get lost!

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Post by Admin » Thu 06 Jun 2013 09:08

For people who don't know Carol, i'm sure she wont mind me telling you that she is no spring chicken! Amazing lady, always on the move, always another adventure in the pipeline. Long may you continueto roam Carol!

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